Posted in daily prompt

At home

You’re 12 years old. It’s your birthday. Write for ten minutes on that memory. GO.

We were a family of immigrants in a closed society when there were no so much immigrants as today. We were the only foreigners in our neighbourhood. We had a strange surname people couldn’t pronounce. I didn’t understand why. For me was so easy: three simple syllables. But people, instead of trying to remember the pronunciation, by memory, always tried to read it the Spanish way, with all the letters, and the result was indeed unpronounceable. I had get used to hear the most strange varieties of my surname and answer to all of them. When I was little, some of my teachers renounced to try to read it and called me by my number on the list of pupils. For a while I was number 10. Some of my schoolmates had complicated and long Basque surnames with four, five or more syllables. I didn’t understand why they were able to pronounce and remember without problems such complicated names and not mine. When I grew up I understood it’s easy. They’re at home. Our name is strange.

Years before I was 12 I learned the hard way that my friends from school would not come to our house to celebrate my birthday. I don’t remember how old was I when I had invited a lot of schoolmates and only two showed up. Apparently the rest of the families didn’t trust us enough to send their children to our home. After that setback, we never tried again to have a big party and I spent my birthdays with my family and a few close friends. Nothing special: a home-made cake with candles, some presents, a good time playing with them, my brother and my sisters… In the birthdays we loved to play in two teams to the movies: One team had to perform without words some scenes from movies we had seen and the opposite team had to guess what movie it was. We could play for hours. Before our friends arrived, when we were alone, we used to sing all together. We loved to sing. All our feast days were plenty of music. My dad was the main animator. He loved music and filled our lives with it. We had a piano at home and my sister also had a guitar. Our canary Tich always joined us with its beautiful trills.

I can’t recall exactly what happened when I was twelve. I don’t remember any special present or a secret wish over the candles. In fact I never believed in secret wishes I just blew out the candles for the fun of it. It was so long ago. I guess it was one of those fine feast days with my family and a few close friends playing to the movies singing and eating a good home-made birthday cake. So no Shake it Up. Completely different times.

Daily Prompt: Shake it Up.

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Author:

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.

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